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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 23

December 13th, 2011

And now for your second of the day…

Check out these great peep toes!! They are part of the White by Vera Wang line at David’s Bridal. Tell me these wouldn’t be perfect for a great New Years’ Eve party? Love!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 22

December 13th, 2011

What the heck happened? I just realized the post I had originally scheduled for last week never posted! Well, today I will post two to make it up to you!

How cute are these little designer flats?? Tieks by Gavrieli are the most convenient shoes I have seen in awhile! As you can see, they fold in half to fit easily into your purse or tote to help your tootsies bear the walk to the train from the office or you can wear them all day while running around to meetings all over town. An even better idea is to grab each bridesmaid (and yourself!) a pair to change into after the ceremony to ensure there are no excuses for not tearing up the dance floor. Who says beauty is pain?



Best of Nicki Ann: 2011

December 12th, 2011

This post comes from Friday Finds 3.11.11. I just love this idea!

Many of you know that I love DIY weddings. So of course I subscribe to the idea of the day from Martha Stewart Weddings. Sometimes I see them and say, “Eh” and delete them automatically. But this one was different. The subject was “A New ‘Something Blue.'” I am always looking for new and creative ideas for the something blue. I immediately fell in love with this idea.

Rather than having blue shoes (one of my favorite ideas!) or a blue garter, you can have your new initials and wedding date embroidered on the inside of your gown to add even more personalization. The part that really made me swoon was the thought of wearing your mother’s or grandmother’s gown with her initials right beside yours.


Friday Finds 12.9.11

December 9th, 2011

As I was flipping through The Knot magazine, I came across some fun ideas for weddings. One of which was I Love Flipbooks. You know me and practical favors. I just love them! Combine that with a photo booth of sorts and I am in love. Click on the photo below to check out a video to get more info. It might just be what you want to add to your wedding to make it special!





Best of Nicki Ann: 2011

December 8th, 2011

I mentioned I would be writing some new resolutions soon. And I promise, they are coming. But since I have written A LOT of posts in the past year, I figured it would be a good time to go back and pick out a few of my favorites to re-share. The end of the year is always good for recapping, so I am going to do just that!

This post was from February 2011 and titled “All the days of our lives…” Enjoy!

Lately, I have been thinking about whether or not write our own wedding vows. I love the idea of writing down our thoughts and feelings and sharing them with everyone. However, I know me. I am going to be a nervous wreck that day. This would not be the time for me to go off script and start my nervous babbling, which I do. ALL. THE. TIME. Before making this big decision, I thought I would do some research to help make an educated decision.

The first step should be to ask your future intended what his/her thoughts are about this. If they are completely opposed, then the answer is no. Don’t argue it or push it. You want your FI to be happy and carefree on your big day.

Once you have both agreed, you should discuss what type of vows you want to write. Together. Do you want sentimental, cute, comedic? You want to make sure you are both on the same page. If you prepare something very sentimental and he prepares something funny, one of you is bound to be upset and the other will just be embarrassed. So make sure you are both on the same page.

When you begin to write, sit down and think about why you are marrying this person. Why do you love them? How did you know you loved them? What is your favorite quality of your FI? This is the time to put it all out there. Does he make you laugh even when you are ready to cry? Does he give the best hugs? Do his habits of putting socks on the floor instead of in the hamper drive you crazy, but you love him anyway? Tell him!!

If you are having more trouble with writing them than you thought, do your own research. Find a quote that reminds you of your relationship. Pick a movie that describes you two perfectly and explain why. This is not something that you should throw together last-minute. You should spend time thinking and reflecting. There are a ton of books out there that can help when writing your own vows. You can even do some light reading to help get you inspired by reading The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time by David Lowenherz.

Lastly, you want to write it out word for word. Write exactly how you want to say it. Chances are you will rely on your written vows more than you think. Once you have done that – practice, practice, practice!! You do not want to stumble over your words. Maybe you won’t even have to refer to your written notes.

Whatever you do, write from the heart. Do what feels right. After all, that is how you got into this situation in the first place.


2011 Resolutions – Reflection

December 7th, 2011

Well, it is that time again. Time to make a list of things that I want to accomplish in the next year. For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you might remember my 2011 Resolutions. If not, click the link and go read it. I am going to revisit those and see how I did. I have to say overall, I am happy with the results. A few things really irked me because they were silly things I could have accomplished and made excuses.

So to recap quickly, my resolutions were broken down into 3 categories – health (like every other man, woman or bride on earth), personal, and business. So let’s go back to the future and check them out.


In the health category, I wanted to continue to eat healthy and take care of myself, run the Race for a Cure, and run a 10k by the end of the year. Pass, fail, fail. I did take better care of myself. I did eat better. I didn’t run the races. This is the part that I am pretty bummed about to be honest. I was running three to four times a week at 3 miles a pop. I could have EASILY run those races. I made excuses and didn’t set aside the time to actually register and run them. They will go onto 2012’s resolutions by default because if I fail to meet a goal, it can’t end just because the year is over. I have to keep trying!


In the personal category, I wanted to be a better friend, wife and family member. I think I have made progress in this area. I made more time for friends, but not enough time. Getting married takes up a lot of time. Planning my wedding consumed my life for a majority of 2011. I did make an effort to text/call people more often and send random cards, but was awful in actually setting up times to spend QT with my girlfriends, my mom and dad, my doggies and my husband. I do work a lot. But again, that is just an excuse. I remember a time when I was working part-time, going to college full-time, president of my sorority, a philanthropist, a girlfriend, a best friend, a daughter and overall awesome person :) I just make excuses! Time to man up. Or friend up. Whatever.


Again, for those of you who have been reading me for awhile, you know that this was a crazy year for me in general. Business-wise, it has been a whirlwind. I decided in fall of 2010 to launch my wedding planning business. It was slow. No one ever said it was going to happen over night. I just kept pushing. Trying to find new ideas and ways to market myself became the way I spent my commute to my day job. I registered for conferences in Vegas and webinars/conference calls to continue learning and growing. This one is hard because I did have to make a tough decision to let go of my own business for the time being. But at the same time, I am now doing what I love every single day rather than just dreaming about it. I know at some point, I will own my own business. So technically, I didn’t fail at building my business because everything I do on a daily basis is only helping me to build a business for myself in the future.

Another part of this was to clean and organize my office so I have a place to work while I am at home. One of the best parts about my job with the Mansion is that I work from home a few days during the week when I do not have tours scheduled. The office became a necessity because I could either get a TON done without distractions sitting in my office or I can get nothing done because I set up at my dining room table. Two dogs and a husband did not make for a very serene environment. I still haven’t gotten my desk. I’ve been using two 4 foot folding tables end to end with a table cloth as a desk. Do you know how hard it is to find exactly what you want and not be willing to budge?! But thanks to my best friend’s dad, I am having one built for me. It is going to be perfect. And you bet your bottom I will post a picture of it once it is done. It’s going to be glorious.

I also promised that I would blog at least once a week. I didn’t fully succeed on this either. I missed one week. Missing one out of 52 weeks isn’t too shabby! Especially since I got married and was out of the country for 9 days! The real goal wasn’t to necessarily blog every week. It was to keep myself motivated and always researching and staying on top of the trends. It was about not letting my dream slip away because I was wrapped up in everything else or just plain being lazy. I have become a frequent blogger. I love writing. I may not be the best writer in the world, but I am getting better and better with each post. That was really the goal.

Now what?

I am going to be writing another post soon with new resolutions for 2012. I share these things not because I want you to be up in my business, but because I want to be held accountable. I truly am disappointed that I never ran those races. You better believe I will do it in 2012. Heck, I may even find myself a 5k and run it before the end of the year. It’s not over yet! I am generally happy with the way the rest of the year has gone. I think this year I have become a better person and have grown a lot. I’ve come to accept that life is life. Good and bad things are going to happen. You just gotta roll with the punches. You won’t always meet your goals, but as long as you are working toward them you will get there someday.

So stay tuned for my new resolutions for 2012. Maybe some of you will share yours with me. We can be accountability buddies. So start thinking and get ready to be held accountable.


What Saying ‘Yes’ Means for a Bridesmaids Wallet…

December 5th, 2011

Guest blogger, Jamie Dray of WeddObsessed, graces us with her presence today. Let’s give her a warm Nicki Ann welcome!

Real life scenario: Your very best friend in the world recently got engaged and asks you to be her maid of honor! Without hesitation, you say ‘yes’ and happily tell her you’ll be the best maid of honor that ever lived….

Fast forward a few weeks: You are afraid to open emails from the bride-to-be, fearing/knowing each message will contain a link to a designer dress with a cost equivalent to the down payment for a Ford Focus!:)

Through some informal research* combined with my personal experience as a professional bridesmaid (been in six weddings, and counting!), I’ve come up with a list of costs you should consider BEFORE you say yes to being in a wedding:

Dress/Shoes: $150 and up
While some brides are becoming more flexible on bridesmaid gown choices, there are still those traditional brides who want every girl in the same dress, sometimes wearing matching or even custom dyed shoes. Be prepared to spend around $200 on your dress and shoes, depending on the choice the bride makes!

Hair/Make-Up: $100 and up
Some brides make getting your hair and make-up done optional, but some may require it! Depending on the situation, this can be a pricey additional cost that you weren’t counting on. Make sure you ask the bride about her plans a few weeks in advance so you know not to spend that extra $100 on something else!

Shower: $75 and up
Of the 15 former bridesmaids I questioned for this post, the average amount they contributed to throwing a shower was $250. Sometimes bridesmaids luck out when a family friend or relative offers to foot the cost of the shower. Other times, bridesmaids are expected to pay for everything. No matter the situation, you should plan on helping pay for prizes, games and a shower gift from you to the bride.

Bachelorette Party: $125 and up
Did you know in the UK, bachelorette parties are called ‘Hen weekends?’ Fun fact for you! One of my friends from Ireland shared that bridesmaids in the UK typically don’t pay for their dress, shoes, hair or make-up–since the bride has asked them to be in her wedding, it is considered a favor to her and she foots the bill! Incredible, no? The bridesmaids and friends, however, DO throw a ‘hen weekend’ full of fun things and foot the bill for the bride! In the US, bachelorette parties can range from a fun girls night in, to dramatic trips to Vegas–so plan on forking over a decent amount of cash for this occasion. :)

Wedding and Shower Gifts: $100 and up
Gifts are very personal and will reflect your personality, so this one is hard to really give an average price. Generally speaking though, bridesmaids purchase a gift from the bride’s registry for the shower and give a personal, thoughtful gift for the wedding. The nice thing is about a registry is there are a variety of gifts at different price points so you can pick something that really fits your budget!

Travel:$50 and up
I’ve flown to Boston and Malibu to be in weddings and had a blast at each of them! Travel is another factor some bridesmaids forget about, but be sure to consider the location of the wedding when you say ‘yes’- -there is quite a difference between filling your gas tank to travel a few hours, and buying a plane ticket to the other side of the country! Also, don’t forget other trips you may make to go dress shopping, attend the shower or attend the bachelorette party!

Clothes, shoes, make-up and other bridesmaid duties: Grand total: $600 and up
Gym membership to be in your best shape ever for said wedding: $30 a month
Watching your very best friend in the world marry her soul mate: Priceless

(*All estimates based on personal experience/the responses of 15 of my closest gal pals with bridesmaid experience ‘a plenty.)


Friday Finds 12.2.11

December 2nd, 2011

I had a chance to visit with a friend a few weekends ago. She has a now almost four month old baby. So while Joey and I were waiting for her and her hubby to finish their parenting duties (changing diapers, I wasn’t about to be a part of that duty), I picked up a catalog she had gotten in the mail that day. Let me just tell you that I was pretty glad I did.

Uncommon Goods has some really cute stuff! As I flipped through the catalog, I found the anniversary journal and knew it was something I had to share with you. I even made Joey text me the name of the shop and the name of the item so I could remember it later because I didn’t *gasp* have my phone on me.

I think this is the cutest little book and a great gift for the first year anniversary since that one is supposed to be the gift of paper.